Homeschooling on Hectic Days

Every day can’t be an idyllic, peaceful time of learning, sharing and growing together.

Remember, this is Hot Mess Homeschooling which means that I have more than my fair share of insane, crazy, disorganized days.

So how do I handle all this?

Well, the reality of life is that chaos can’t always be planned. Sometimes, the cows get out. Sometimes a kid sleeps poorly and acts horribly, taking time from our day to deal with that properly. (Sometimes, they just misbehave because they are stinkers, but that’s another blog post.) Sometimes the washer overflows, the baby pukes on the couch, and the toilet stops up.

Those are hard days.

We also have those days when we know that it’s going to be crazy. I work part time, help with our farm, write part time, homeschool three kids, run the household, and lead a drama group for teens. My Wednesdays are my craziest days, with drama meeting all afternoon, and AWANA and Bible study in the evening.

On days when I know it’s going to be hectic, I plan for the insanity.

  • We have a Crock Pot meal or something very basic and simple for supper.
  • We use paper plates.
  • I get up on time and get people cracking on school work.
  • I lay out clothes and find two matching shoes first thing in the morning. (matching socks are optional these days)
  • As soon as my barn chores are completed, I go ahead and dress myself in my “going places” clothes, do my makeup and fix my hair.
  • I gather all “This needs to leave the house” stuff early in the morning and either set it by the door or go ahead and stick it in the car.
  • I look over my notes for my class and do any last minute preparation early in the morning before my children get up.

Basically, since I know it’s going to be crazy, I do everything I can well in advance of get ready to go time. I start counting down our exit time about 30 minutes before it’s time to go. Then I send people to the car five minutes before it’s time to pull out of the driveway. This leaves enough time to have one or two kids run back inside for a forgotten something, but not so much time that they start thinking about “Oh, I probably should bring this and this so I won’t be bored in the car.”

On days when the crazy hits out of the blue, I approach things a little differently.

  • I prioritize. Math, English and Spelling have to be done every day. Science or history may not. So if we don’t get anything else done that day, we do get to our Math, Spelling, and English.
  • If the toilet’s overflowing, that takes priority over everything else. However, we do get back to work soon. A broken toilet should not sideline a whole day, unless it’s the only toilet in the house.
  • Breathe. Don’t let the chaos make you irritable, frustrated, and grumpy. I know it’s hard, but try to stay calm and take things in stride. Learn to laugh at things.
  • Do what you can to make the day easier on yourself. So paper plates and peanut butter sandwiches for supper is fine after a really crazy day.
  • Corral all little people into one area. This is a huge sanity saver. Keep them where you can see them. Close the bedroom doors and gate off the stairs to keep them from trashing the whole house while you’re teaching long division.
  • Hug them. Kiss them.
  • Find one place and try to keep that clean. For me, it’s my room. I tidy it every morning and try to keep it that way. No, my children are not damaged by not being permitted to play in there or wallow on the neatly made bed. It’s so comforting to know that one place in the whole messy house is tidy.
  • Music. Yes, it soothes all of us when we start getting a little punchy.

So that’s what I do to keep my sanity on crazy, messy, unpredictable, frustrating days. If you’re a homeschooler, or even if you’re not, how do you handle the inevitable chaos of having a household of children?




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joyfull Mom
    Mar 05, 2016 @ 19:13:07

    This sounds like me prioritizing things on my hectic days (which seems like every day!). I like your practical ideas and the “breathe” because that is what I do as I quote scriptures to get me through my day “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…” Thanks for the great post. It is always nice to hear from others on this fun, crazy, rewarding, hectic, challenging journey. Blessings.


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